Join Jays From the Couch in uncovering the Blue Jays minor league system’s hidden gems. This time: Jake Fishman
The Toronto Blue Jays selected Jake Fishman in the 30th round of the 2016 Amateur Draft. Most 30th round selections are lottery picks or organizational fillers. While I don’t believe that Fishman will 100% become a Major League pitcher, after two seasons I think he’s done enough to shake the label of organizational filler.
At this point, I would categorize Jake Fishman as a bonafide lottery pick.
The 6-foot-3 lefty can be described as a late bloomer. Jake Fishman went undrafted out of High School. He was too small and lacked the strength. A growth spurt, a commitment to conditioning, and improved focus to his craft allowed Fishman to excel in College.
A combination of improved strength and conditioning and a growth spurt pushed Fishman’s fastball velocity from the mid-80’s to 92 mph. After struggling with mechanics, thanks to longer limbs, Fishman began peppering the strike zone with increased regularity and took off.
Fishman played his college ball at Union College where he pitched and played some first base and designated hitter. In his final year with Union College Athletics, Fishman was named to the Midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. Unfortunately, Jake didn’t make the final list but for a Division 3 player to even make the Midseason watch list is a huge deal.
Fishman throws a high 80’s to low 90’s fastball/sinker, a change, and a curve. He used to mix in a knuckleball here and there during his time in College but I’ve haven’t heard of him using it since turning pro.
The Newton, MA native lives and dies by locating, pitch movement, and a deceptive motion which makes it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball out of his hands.
Jake Fishman was signed on June 14th, 2016 and assigned to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays on the June 24th as a 21-yr-old. A starter in college (18-2 with a 1.36 ERA in 24 starts and 2 relief appearances over three Div 3 seasons), Fishman was used out of the bullpen in his rookie season.
Fishman was lit up in his two games, allowing 6 earned runs (11 unearned) in 4IP. He allowed just 2 just over his final 11IP to finish with a record of 0-1 and 4.80 ERA.
He started the 2017 season back in the GCL for a brief 1IP start on July 3rd before making the trip to Vancouver on July 6th. As a member of the C’s bullpen, Fishman didn’t allow an earned run the entire month of July. In 8 appearances (14.1IP) he surrendered 2 walks while striking out 16 batters and holding opponents to a .173 BA.
He would allow 3 earned runs in August before receiving a promotion to Lansing on August 22nd.
Despite his 4.05 ERA, Fishman’s 2017 success continued (2.90 FIP) as a member of the Lugnuts bullpen, culminating when he struck out 7 batters over 2IP. He struck out 15 (20.25 K/9) and walked zero in 6.2IP in the Midwest League. He struck out multiple batters in all 4 of his appearances.
Just the Stats
With just over 45 innings under his belt, Fishman has shown excellent command of the strike zone walking just 1.6 batters per 9IP and striking out 10.2 batters per 9IP. His 9.5 H/9IP needs to improve if he is to continue pitching in high leverage situations.
In 2017, Jake Fishman pitched multiple innings 9 out of his 20 games and finished 11 games. Jake struck out multiple batters 10 times and struck out 5 batters twice.
The 6-foot-3 lefty handled both left and right-handed batters. Fishman held LHB to a .211 BA while allowing one double and a HR in 40 AB. He held RHB to a .244 BA while allowing 3 doubles and two HR in 82 AB.
Fishman is entering his age 23 season. With just 6.2 full season A-Ball innings under his belt, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he returned to Lansing to start the season.
However, I could see Jake Fishman getting a more aggressive assignment than Lansing. The D-Jays bullpen looks a little thin on LHP with Dan Lietz and Juliandry Higuera (possible starter) graduating from Lansing. Travis Bergen (if healthy) is another possible lefty reliever to join the D-Jays bullpen in 2018).
*Featured Image via C Stem- JFtC
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